Pork Carnitas Recipe - Allrecipes.com
Pork Carnitas Recipe
  • READY IN ABOUT 4 hrs

Pork Carnitas

Recipe by  

"Many find carnitas a little dry or flavorless. These have a great, distinctive flavor and are requested by friends and family over and over. Serve with warm, fresh tortillas and salsa."

+ Recipe Box + Shopping List + Menu Print

Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 12 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    3 hrs 30 mins

    3 hrs 45 mins


  1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Season the pork shoulder with salt, then arrange the pork in the Dutch oven. Cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, lime juice, chili powder, oregano, and cumin. Pour in the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and continue to simmer until pork is very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
  3. Transfer the pork shoulder to a large baking sheet, reserving the cooking liquid. Drizzle with a small amount of the reserved cooking liquid and lightly season with salt.
  4. Bake the pork in the preheated oven until browned, about 30 minutes. Drizzle more of the cooking liquid on the meat every 10 minutes, and use two forks to shred the meat as it browns.
Kitchen-Friendly View


  • Cook's Note
  • Serve the carnitas with warm, fresh tortillas and salsa.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Nov 06, 2014

Hi all, I just figured out today that this had been published. A few things: Keep in mind, the objective of the final step is to get slightly crispy outside with a moist, tender inside. Convection oven is great for this. The recipe says a "clove" of garlic ... I meant a bulb, but of course, garlic to taste, and for that matter, salt. Also remember to adjust your salt and spices to the size of the roast, but broth doesn't need the same levels of increases. I wrote this such a long time ago -- I don't use cans of broth anymore, just the sealed boxes -- about 1 will do for most roasts. Also, this is the Winter version with a dutch oven. I have a summer version where I marinate the pork pieces in lime, garlic, olive oil, adobo chili sauce, cilantro, and onion. I then grill outdoors to get the browned edges, and then set up a disposable aluminum pan covered with foil to do the braising in broth. I keep it on the grill on very low heat until tender. Then move the pieces indoors to finish with the same steps as the winter version. This way, it keeps the house a bit cooler. Some great ideas in your comments including crock pot use, and cola or beer for braising liquid. You know, you can also use this method for pulled pork... just decrease the cumin and chili, and add BBQ sauce to your braising liquid. Either way, for the carnitas, I've since started adding mild green chili to the braising broth. It's ok to be creative with this -- modify to your liking. Cheers!

Most Helpful Critical Review
Sep 08, 2013

Texture was perfect, but meat was waaaaay too salty. Salt overpowered the cumin and chili powder. 1 Tablespoon would have been plenty. Easy fix for an otherwise good recipe.

Oct 09, 2011

i havent tried the recipe but if anyone out there wants to make a variation to this recipe, i recently saw a Mexican friend making carnitas (a whole pig) and what he put in for seasoning was coca cola, limes and lemons, laurel leaves, and cooking wine. dont forget the salt and use its own drippings to keep it from being dried out, remember, carnitas werent meant to be diet food.

Mar 20, 2012

I'm very happy with how our carnitas turned out! I used a tenderloin and substituted a dark beer for the chicken broth. Very tender and flavorful!

May 16, 2012

So moist and with great flavor. I never measure just cook by smell, but I upped the garlic, and used the juice of a whole lime. Went a little heavy on the chili powder and cumin, and only salted the meat before browning. Also threw in just a touch of cayenne for good measure. Came out awesome! I used a pork loin, so I just left the meat in the dutch oven and let it work, after about 2 hours it fell apart with just tongs and stirring. Put them in a flour tortilla with tomato, avocado, and a touch of sour creme. Served with beans and elotes made an awesome Mexican night in!

Jul 25, 2012

This recipe is perfect! I followed it exactly with one exception - I added about 1/2 cup of coca cola to the liquid while the meat was simmmering and it turned out great. My husband is Mexican and every time we are in Mexico, my favorite food is the pork carnitas from the little trucks. I have been trying to make something that comes close and this recipe is it. Thank you for sharing this. I will be making this one often!

Mar 09, 2013

I made this recipe tonight, and WOW!! Complete out of the ballpark hit with my family. I doubled the recipe for my large family. I used pork sirloin, as that is what Costco had in the 8LB quantity. Salt and Garlic salt, then into the pot with oil to sear in batches. I pulled all the meat out, and sweated the onions and garlic in the pan juices before adding broth, spices, and meat back to the pot. Up to high uncovered, then covered on low for 2.5 hours. I then upped the heat to high and uncovered the pot to reduce the liquid by half. The meat was falling apart as I put it in the baking pan to crisp up, I added the reduced liquid to the meat a half cup at a time over the next 30 minutes. SOOOOOO Good. Served this with onions and cilantro, home made guac, and home made pico de gallo on the side. One side note, I doubled the recipe, so should have used 8 can's broth...NO way that would have worked. I ended up using 5 cans for 8lbs of meat, and it was plenty. I also read the reviews and used the extra garlic. Awesome Recipe!! (Long time member here, this was my first review!) Thanks so much!!

Sep 19, 2012

I loved the cooking method for these carnitas!! Seriously best I've ever made or bought eating out. I do admit I did a few things differently. I upped the spices, did a dry rub on the pork and then fried it till crispy and brown before adding homemade broth. I added an orange, juice and rind and more garlic then followed the rest of the instructions exactly. AMAZING. Like I said I only played with the spicing. This is a great way to prepare carnitas.


Rate This Recipe

Glad you liked it! Your friends will, too:


  • Calories
  • 250 kcal
  • 12%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 2.3 g
  • < 1%
  • Cholesterol
  • 62 mg
  • 21%
  • Fat
  • 19.1 g
  • 29%
  • Fiber
  • 0.4 g
  • 2%
  • Protein
  • 16.2 g
  • 32%
  • Sodium
  • 2072 mg
  • 83%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

See More

About the Cook

Subscribe Today!

In Season

Sweet Summer Desserts
Sweet Summer Desserts

Summertime is all the sweeter with light desserts that satisfy without weighing you down.

Let's Make Zucchini Bread
Let's Make Zucchini Bread

Buried in zucchini? It's time to make zucchini bread! Choose from over 100 recipes.

Subscribe Today! Only $7.99
Subscribe Today! Only $7.99

Delicious recipes, party ideas, and cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for $7.99!

Related Videos

Crispy Pork Carnitas

See how to make tender, tasty, crispy carnitas for tacos.

Orange and Milk-Braised Pork Carnitas

Make Chef John's perfect batch of tender carnitas today!

Pork Schnitzel with Dipping Sauce

What's cooking in San Antonio? Heavenly schnitzel with creamy sauce.

Recently Viewed Recipes

Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States